BCCI to get access to tapes of key depositions
The BCCI will get a chance to hear the audio recordings of three key depositions - by its president N Srinivasan, CSK captain MS Dhoni and IPL chief operating officer Sundar Raman - made to the Mudgal committee's probe into IPL corruption allegations. The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked for the tapes to be submitted to the court registrar.
The tapes were sought by the BCCI's counsel CA Sundaram as proof of the Mudgal committee's findings with regard to what Srinivasan, Dhoni and Raman had said about Gurunath Meiyappan's role in the Chennai Super Kings franchise. Gurunath, who is Srinivasan's son-in-law, was arrested by Mumbai police during the 2013 IPL season and charged with cheating, forgery and criminal conspiracy, which included passing on information that compromised his team. The tapes will heard by Amit Sibal and Rohini Musa, counsels nominated by the BCCI, in the presence of the Secretary General of the Court, who will be responsible for transcribing the tapes.
The two-man bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justice A K Patnaik and FM Ibrahim Kalifullah asked Sundaram for an assurance that the content of the tapes would not be leaked to the media. The counsel was warned that if the information did get out, he would be held in contempt. The court said cricket would be "blackened" in the country, if any portion of the tapes' content was released.
The Mudgal commission was set up in October 2013 and submitted its report on February 10, 2014 after interviewing 52 people. Along with the report, both parties were given 4000 pages of annexures that did not have the recordings of the 52 depositions. The recordings were meant to help in accurate tabling of every deposition.
Gopal Subramaniam, who represented the Mudgal panel in court, said the committee had stopped audio recordings because of a suspicion that they were being made available to outsiders without the committee's permission. The depositions had been recorded between November 5, 2013 and January 6, 2014 on equipment organised and facilitated by the BCCI. Subramaniam said the recordings were of poor quality, and not the high-quality audio that had been promised to the panel by the BCCI.
All the recordings of depositions were meant to be given to the panel and then deleted from the system immediately. It is understood that may not have been the case with all the depositions. Subramaniam said several cricketers had appeared before the panel "with utmost confidentiality," and those recordings could not be handed over to any outside party because it would "hurt the credibility of the commission".